2012 was a difficult year, I struggled a lot and forgot a lot. We went for a walk along the pier in Dun Laoghaire the other night, a walk that I might have had a few times a week for 3 years from 2003-2006. It was like I was walking on the moon, in a foreign and unfamiliar place. I used to call it home but it didn’t feel like home anymore.
The forgetting bit was especially hard because in other years even though things might have been tough I could at least remember good things or points of light to cling too. Places I called home or familiar friends but in 2012 they seemed scarce. It felt a bit like exile. Or that I house to live in (which I am grateful for) but not a home.
I wondered a lot about what the bible calls ‘the world’ and how I am supposed to respond to that as a Christian.
What does it mean to kill someone or take away their life?
How am I supposed to live in a world that seems so competitive?
Am I skiver or striver, a worker or shirker?
Things like what is work from the Christian point of view? Being unemployed has been hard especially when I know I have been working lots of the time, just not earning money and the frustration that can bring. ( That’s not to say I haven’t been lazy either at points, but then so isn’t everyone? )Is work counted only as real work when we earn a living wage from it or is their much more to work than that? Why does much of what we hear in church not really connect with that area of our lives?
So I have been a wondering lots about that. I haven’t liked the present government because they seem to be trying to make society more competitive and basically saying the harder you work the more you will get out. If you are a worker and not a shirker you will do well. Is life that simple? What about those who aren’t as fortunate or gifted?
London 2012 didn’t do much for me, there was too much ‘Isn’t Britain Great?’ particularly over fringe sports like rowing and cycling around in big circular wooden halls.
I have spent a lot of times on computers partly out of necessity, addiction but also out of curiousity.
Is it the light we crave on dull Irish days, does the light cheer us up? Are they idols? Are we becoming like our idols? What does it mean to become like a computer or technology?
When it comes to Christianity there have been lots of struggles and questions, doubts and frustrations. Same as most years I suppose. I wondered about how Paul and how we read the Bible in general, probably sparked off by being married to H____ and arguments about women in ministry.
There have been questions in general about being married to a minister in the Presbyterian Church, with the added dimension of being married to an Irish women minister. Is it right that so much of church life flows through this one person and what sort of pressures does that bring to a relationship? How am I expected to be as the ministers other half, is there an unwritten role? What about 2013? Where are we going to be? Are we going to be alright? Arghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!
Money has been an issue. What should our relationship to money be? Is everybody earning much more than us? Why do people think that it’s normal to ask the question ‘Have you ever been skiing Dave?’
How would they react if I said ‘No, because I couldn’t afford it?’
I had one main ambition at the start of the year, mainly to grow coriander.
I grew two spindly coriander plants so strictly speaking that was a success, but not really as I need to grow much more and much better. The same applies for parsley, more parsley and better in 2013.
I made a few rocket stoves and a biscuit tin banjo. This was because I am slightly ashamed of the amount of things we waste. There are so many cartons and tins, packaging and paper being wheeled away each week. My main hatred is the waste of 2L milk cartons, but I have sneaky plan for 2013 for those.
I enjoyed cooking in 2012, maybe more at the beginning of the year. We tried to eat more vegetarian meals and use cheaper cuts of meat. But it was hard to beat the occasional steak from St George’s Market cooked with chips.
Shopping habits are maybe tied in with how we use money. Is it better to shop local whenever possible, buy organic and all that stuff or is that just a luxury for people who can afford it? Does being responsible with money mean making sacrifices in other areas to buy an organic chicken rather than a cheaper intensively raised chicken?
I tried to look up at the stars whenever it was clear (which wasn’t very often lets face it) The Plough still fascinates me.
I’ve realized the importance of tools that work well for you. The difference between one rollerball black pen and another is immense. The feel of the paper in one notebook could put you off drawing while another notebook could make you comfortable enough to keep drawing all day long.
Mum produced a bag full of old school notebooks from primary and it was fun remembering an old part of my life again. (Well fun apart from reading all the killing and murders that took place back in the 80’s with ‘The Troubles’)
I have felt quite low lots of the time. The weather didn’t help, perhaps when you’re married to someone who does a lot of hospital visits and trips to see those who are going through a rough time it can rub off on you a bit. There has been worry and things that you couldn’t mention on a blog.
I made some maps. The point of those was to try and get connected to actual places in the world. The copper in our tablets and computers, our technology came from some hole in the ground. The powerful people who wield so much power in our world live in actual homes.
I don’t remember seeing any films this year. I have a vague memory of watching the Tom Petty film ‘Running Down a Dream‘ and loving it, but that might have been back in 2011. Still that’s a good film if you ever get a chance to watch it.
I read books but don’t remember many of the books I read. I enjoyed George Orwell and ‘Homage to Catalonia’, I didn’t enjoy ‘As I Lay Dying’ by William Faulkner. My favourite books were probably ‘Food and Faith‘ by Norman Wirzba and ‘Something New Under the Sun‘ by John McNeill
Music wise I loved dipping into Spotify and rediscovering Graceland by Paul Simon. (Actually the film about the making of Graceland ‘Under African Skies‘ was excellent as well and highly recommended.). I liked listening to different stuff like Justin Townes Earle and Amiina was the music of choice for chilling out. But the album I probably enjoyed listening to most was ‘The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed’ and the song that connected the most this one by Bon Iver. (not that I liked the video)